RI-UCEDD Staff Present on Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) Work

December 7, 2017

FEAT was created at the University of Kansas by Judith Gross and Grace Francis (now at the University of Indiana and George Mason University respectively) to address barriers to employment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). 

FEAT is a free training that highlights real stories of employment success and information about supports, strategies and resources. The target audience is families of transition-age youth with IDD, although school personnel and youth themselves also attend. 

Since 2015, Claire Rosenbaum, Adult Supports Coordinator, and Paul LaCava, Research Coordinator, at the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities (RI-UCEDD) have collaborated with Gross and Francis to implement FEAT in RI. They have presented their FEAT research in 2017 at the AAIDD conference in Hartford, and at OCALICON in Columbus.

FEAT participants completed surveys before the training and at one month and one year follow ups. A comparison group of non-FEAT attendees completed a pre-survey and one year follow up.

Initial finding suggest that FEAT has increased expectations about employment as well as knowledge about resources, supports, etc. in RI. At pre-survey, participants identified the top barriers to employment as: lack of education/experience, severity of disability/needs, need for supports, transportation issues and limited funding for supports.

At one year follow-up, 90% of FEAT participants agreed that they had developed higher expectations for the employment of people with disabilities and 100% agreed or strongly agreed that FEAT was worthwhile.

Compared to non-attendees at one year follow-up, FEAT participants were much more likely to believe that most individuals with disabilities can get jobs if they want them, anyone who wants to work can in their community, and people with disabilities can work any job in which they are interested. Moreover, FEAT participants agreed that they had increased their knowledge about how to find employment resources, and that they know enough about employment resources to take steps toward employment for individual with disabilities.

The Sherlock Center continues to run FEATs in RI and lessons learned from this research has prompted a variety of changes to improve implementation with RI Families.

Picture Caption: Claire Rosenbaum (RI-UCEDD) presenting in Hartford at AAIDD in June 2017

FEAT information:  http://www.ric.edu/sherlockcenter/feat.html